Titleist 712U – a flat-faced hybrid for iron lovers
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Hybrids are great clubs to hit on long par 3s, out of the rough and from the fairway because they have a low center of gravity, wide sole and a powerful face. Over the past decade, hybrids have replaced long-irons for many amateurs, turning 2-irons into dinosaurs and making 3-irons scarce. Even on the PGA Tour, the versatility and forgiveness of hybrids make them a common site in the golf bags of the game’s best players.
Yet holdouts persist. Hybrids typically have a curved face that some players feel imparts too much spin on the ball, making it too easy to hook and slice. With the advent of the 712U, Titleist says it has a hybrid that should appeal to precisely those players.
“We have these R&D meetings and the guys are always asking us, ‘What do you need, what are we missing,’” says Chris Tuten, Titleist’s director of PGA Tour player promotions. “One of the things I told them was that some players didn’t like the hybrids because of the roll and bulge of the face.”
Like its predecessor, the Tour-only 503i that Titleist produced in the mid-2000s, the hollow-headed 712U has a flat face and compact shape that is designed to help golfers hit straighter shots. This should make it especially appealing to iron-lovers who shy away from fairway wood-style hybrids.
The Titleist 712U has not yet been made available to the public, but will be made available through custom order later this year.
The 712U comes in three models – a 2-iron, a 3-iron and a 4-iron – and each is designed as an iron replacement. It’s CG is lower than a traditional long iron’s, but unlike traditional hybrids that are designed to get the ball up fast, Tutan says 712U can be flighted up or down, making it a handy choice on courses where weather is a primary defense.
“Geoff Ogilvy is playing the 2-iron version of it here in Florida, and he told me that he is going to rotate it with his 5-wood,” Tuten says. “He told me that sometimes when he gets into the rough and has to hit his 5-wood, it will run out about 230 yards. That would be an advantage of the 5-wood over the 712U (which would be shorter). But the advantage of the 712U would be when you get the wind blowing a little bit, it will keep it down.”
Adam Scott also played a 712U 2-iron at Doral while Tim Clark had a 712U 4-iron in his bag. Patrick Cantley, Morgan Hoffmann and Peter Uihlein carried a 712U in their bag last week in Puerto Rico. Tuten says that several of Titleist’s European staff players have shown interest in the club, and he expects it to be a popular addition to many players’ bags at the Open Championship at Muirfield in July.
“With some players, we have put in a steel shaft that matches what they have in their irons, and we have had a couple of players actually try some graphite and that has worked really well,” Tuten says.